People like to upgrade their gadgets regularly, but that doesn’t seem to include video doorbells. Once installed, they basically just do their thing. But does a Ring or Nest smart doorbell have a shelf life?
There are two ways to look at this question. First, if your video doorbell is battery-powered, you probably want to know how long it will last. More importantly, though—since this is a literal camera monitoring a part of your home 24/7: when does support end?
How Long Does a Video Doorbell Battery Last?
Video doorbell batteries should last somewhere between two and twelve months. A doorbell that is activated more often will go through battery power more quickly. For example, Ring says you should expect approximately 1000 activations.
Of course, this only applies if you have a battery-powered video doorbell. Many video doorbells can be wired into an existing doorbell outlet, but if your home doesn’t have that, you need a battery-powered model. Ring and Google Nest, along with some other brands, have battery-powered doorbells.
According to Ring, battery-powered doorbells will last “approximately 1,000 activations with normal usage.” In real-world terms, that seems to be anywhere from 6-12 months, but people have reported much shorter times.
Google shares better battery life estimations for the Nest Doorbell. With “Busy” usage, you can expect around one month of battery life. “Typical” usage goes for two and a half months, while “Quiet” usage stretches it to around six months.
There are other video doorbells on the market, and you can expect similar battery life claims across the board. For example, the Arlo battery-powered doorbell is said to get 3-6 months. However, everyone’s use case is different, so battery life will vary from person to person.
How Long Are Video Doorbells Supported?
Your video doorbell should get support for at least four or five years—and probably longer than that. For example, Ring says it will continue supporting doorbells with security updates for at least four years after it stops selling them, while Google says it will continue supporting Nest doorbells with security updates for at least five years from the first day they’re sold.
Software and security support is especially important for smart video doorbells. You don’t want someone to be able to see whatever the camera is pointed at and monitor the comings and goings of your home. When software support ends for a device, it becomes vulnerable to attacks.
Ring doorbells receive software security updates for at least four years after the device is last available for purchase from Ring.com. To Ring’s credit, it does appear that the company supports devices longer than that.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 stopped being sold from Ring.com in 2020, but Ring says it will receive software security updates until at least 2027. At the time of writing in May 2023, all of Ring’s past and existing products are listed as being supported until at least 2027.
Google, on the other hand, supports Nest devices—including the Nest Doorbell—with security updates for at least five years from the first selling date on the Google Store. The Nest Doorbell was first released in August 2021, so it will be supported until at least August 2026.
Five years is longer than four years, but Ring’s support is actually quite a bit better. Since the four years kick in after the device is no longer available, the total time of support can be pretty long. Google’s is always going to be around five years total. If you would buy a Nest Doorbell at the time of writing in May 2023, you’re only getting three of those five years.
Arlo ends software support and firmware upgrades when it moves a device into the “End of Life” (EOL) stage. There’s usually not a ton of advanced notice when that’s going to happen. Arlo does say it will “provide critical security updates for hardware to one year beyond the hardware’s EOL date.”
The good news is video doorbells seem to mostly have pretty long software support. Ring stands out among the competition, with Google lagging a bit behind—just like the company does in the Android world. Of course, Ring devices aren’t perfect, as many people don’t like Amazon’s involvement. If longevity is your top priority, it might be the route to go.